Back in 2005, I blogged that I’d write up my dream party manifesto – and then I failed to write a single, solitary, sodding word. In some ways, therefore, I think that I’ve performed rather better than Her Majesties Government over the last seven years. Sure, I didn’t achieve much – but I buggered up far less than they did too. And, Wow!, didn’t they just bugger it up!
And now, to continue where I left off, The House of Lords. I believe that we need to revitalise the House of Lords, not reform it, and in some ways we need to turn back time. The hereditary peers should be reintroduced, and the power of the politicians to nominate Lords removed. Lords should be made by Royal appointment. All a bit archaic, surely? Well, perhaps. But I have a good reason for it. The Lords are necessary to protect us from ourselves.
Take Sarah’s Law, for example. This bit of tabloid fuelled nastiness was intended to name paedophiles, but would have fuelled sweaty t-shirted (and sweaty no-shirted) mob vigilanteism. As an unintended consequence, Paedophiles would be beaten up, which would drive them underground so that the police couldn’t track them, greatly increasing the risk to our children. I wouldn’t trust the mob to get the right person – paediatricians would probably end up being the targets of the ignorant thugs. When this law was passed by the Commons, the unelected Lords (unelected, and therefore out of reach of the tabloids) blocked it.
Of course, the Lords wouldn’t always act in our interests – and so the Commons should still have the power to force the Lords to submit to the will of the people, in the same way that it can today. Sarah’s law was a bad idea so it didn’t have the momentum to be debated in the Commons five times before rejection by the Lords. A good idea would have momentum, and would therefore eventually pass into law even if the Lords rejected it time and again.
The Lords would be drawn from the cleverest people in society – even ex’Commoners’. John Major would be a good one, I think. Paddy Ashdown another. Clare Short. Neil Kinnock. Judy Dench. Sheila Rowbotham. Alan Bond. Richard Dawkins. Steven Fry. John Sentamu. Eben Upton. You get the picture.